By Emily Wagner
Matt Stell is definitely on a roll. His debut song “Prayed For You” made him the only artist to debut a single at #1 on the Country AirPlay Chart in 2019, and now he is backing up that success with a 8 track EP Better Than That.
In short, Stell is making men everywhere look bad with his power ballads, and making every guy want to be his best friends with his break up songs. If we thought “Prayed For You” was going to be the song that defined Stell, it might just be in his wedding ready “Look at Me Now.” I love hearing the perspective of the groom on his wedding day, no doubt this will be added to the wedding DJ list in 2021.
Stell flexes his songwriting all over the album. In songs such as “I Love You Too” the title phrase is seen as a red flag, as it’s always said as a response, never initiated. His latest single, a personal favorite, “Everywhere But On” tackles the break up and the moving on from a relationship. It’s like the sequel to Tim McGraw’s “Everywhere”, however, Stell is openly admitting he hasn’t been able to move on no matter how far he runs.
“Chase It Down” is a runaway song, literally about young love and making a break from a dead end town. There is nothing cheap or cheesy about the song, the lyrics, the melody are catchy and original, but compared to the rest of the album, other songs stack up better.
Matt turns it a little more to the rock side with the title track “Better Than That” which sings to an ex girlfriend, calling her out for the choices she’s making, alcohol, men etc., saying that’s not the girl he knew. In the same vein “Sadie” touches on similar ideas, but centered on the young love from the perspective you gain years later. Both songs are saying the same thing, in very different ways, and musically could not be more different.
Every good country album needs that one anthemic-like break up song, where there is no love lost. “If I Was a Bar” is a hilarious, and creative way to prove just how done he is with the relationship, by describing the perfect bar, “I’d have your picture on the dart board, and let your ex’s drink for free.” This song seems like it would have been a fun writing session.
Stell is here to show everyone that “Prayed For You” was no fluke. He started out hot and that doesn’t seem to be changing with the collection of songs behind him on this album.